Indian Springs Historic District
The Indian Springs Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Indian Springs Historic District is approximately defined by Old Fort Bayou on the north, Washington Avenue North on the east, the southernmost property lines of 816 Church Street and 810 Iberville Drive on the south, and the northward extension to the bayou of the western boundary of the latter property. The level ground along Washington Avenue and Iberville Drive slopes gradually towards the bayou. The vegetation of the level area consists of tree-shaded lawns and flower beds. As the ground declines towards the bayou the trees and undergrowth increase in density.
Three of the eleven buildings that comprise the Indian Springs Historic District have been determined to be pivotal, five as contributing, one as marginal and two as non-contributing. They are all of wood frame construction of one to two stories. All of the buildings, with the exception of the Indian Springs/Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant complex, were built and used as residences during most of their existence. Two of them now serve as offices. The buildings represent somewhat free and individual interpretations and blends of the Queen Anne, Greek Revival and Bungalow styles. The lot sizes vary as does the placement of the buildings on their lots. This lends a greater sense of informality to the Indian Springs Historic District than the more regular lay-outs of the other districts.
The Indian Springs Historic District is architecturally significant because of the diversity of architectural forms and styles within its limited number of structures. The Indian Springs, itself, attracted visitors over several centuries and contributed to the development of Ocean Springs as a resort community beginning in the 1850s.
The Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow styles are all represented in the small number of contributing structures. The Davidson-Smith House at 810 Iberville Drive is, at first glance, a Greek Revival raised cottage. However, a chamfered bay complete with a spindle frieze has absorbed two bays of the front gallery injecting a strong note of the Queen Anne style. Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant was originally an 1850s house of unknown style. It has over the following seventy years acquired Colonial Revival elements and a strangely bungaloid wing. The most stylistically pure building is the house, presently a realty office [now a law firm], at 1201 Washington Avenue which is in the Queen Anne style.
The Indian Springs area was the southern landing of a ferry which crossed Old Fort Bayou. The site of the now-defunct ferry landing is near the foot of the slope to the north of Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant. The ferry, which was operated by a Portuguese immigrant named Franco, continued in use from the 1850s until early in the twentieth century when a bridge was constructed across Old Fort Bayou. Mr. Franco constructed the core of the present Aunt Jenny's.
That the mineral springs in the area have long attracted visitors was established by a 1976 archaeological excavation which determined that Native Americans of the Marksville Period (approximately fifteen centuries ago) occupied the site. In more recent times  the Aunt Jenny's complex has served as a convalescents' home and a hotel for those wishing to avail themselves of the springs mineral waters. Due to a decline in the water table the spring is no longer free-flowing.
Hines, Regina B. Ocean Springs, 1892. Pascagoula: Lewis Printing Services, 1979.
† Brian N. Berggren, Architectural Historian, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Indian Springs Historic District, Ocean Springs, Jackson County, MS, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.